I began playing fantasy football sometime in college. It started out innocently enough. (I think I was trying to win a trip to the Super Bowl or something and signed up for a random league on NFL.com. Keep reading this blog and you will find the whole contest-entering thing to be a theme. Sorry I’m not sorry.)
Long story short: I became hooked.
These days, I have a problem limiting the number of fantasy teams I manage. I like to do one with my family, and then there’s a usually a work one with prizes involved, and then friends come of out nowhere asking me to fill up the last open spot in their league and then I hate the draft that I did and need to sign up for a new team, and well…it all escalates very quickly. All of a sudden, you have 3+ teams and you don’t know how it happened and you get very stressed out on Sundays when deciding on your line-up because you can’t keep anything straight when you’re managing about 27 different running backs. (For this reason, I recommend only taking on 1 team in your first year of fantasy football.)
Enough about me. It’s time for me to convince YOU why you should draft your very own fantasy football team this season.
1. It’s educational – Fantasy football, in my opinion, is hands down, the best way to learn about the game of football and the league.
This is how it works: You walk by a TV on a Sunday. There’s a random game on. If you don’t play fantasy football (or read The Snap), you walk past it. (Shame on you!) If you play fantasy football, you recognize the name of your fantasy team’s running back and all of a sudden, you care if he can run the ball into the end zone. You become familiar with players that aren’t on your hometown team. You learn about injuries and other current events in the league because they affect your line-up. You care about when a team’s bye week is because gosh darn it, you need to pick up a wide receiver since two of your regular players are on a bye week.
You learn so much about football and you don’t even realize it’s happening.
2. You don’t need to know much about football to play – I think people hesitate to play because they don’t know a lot about the game. That’s not a valid excuse. Anyone can play. Refer to reason #10.
3. You don’t even have to draft your own players – All leagues generally have an auto-draft feature. That means you don’t even have to worry about picking players to be on your team because the website will do all the work for you. Heck, you don’t even have to show up for the draft.
(We here at The Snap don’t advocate the use of auto-draft because where’s the fun in that? For beginners who don’t feel ready to draft on their own, we recommend the “training wheel method”, where you let it auto-draft, but then step in to avoid disasters (like 4 quarterbacks, a player who is seriously injured, or a kicker in an early round.)
4. It takes up as little or as much time as you want – You can spend 5 minutes a week on your fantasy football team and end up first in your league. As long as you have active players in each position, you are good to go, my friends. Minimal time commitment, easy-peasy.
Or you can be like me and Val, spend the week agonizing over which players to start, creating a spreadsheet for your draft and researching possible fantasy dark horses. I’m not going to say how many hours this takes, but let’s just say that it could qualify as a part-time job for us.
This is Val’s face when she can’t decide what to do with her fantasy team:
5. Something to do with your friends – As the Girl Scouts say, make new friends, but keep the old. I’d like to think it applies to fantasy football. One of my leagues is usually with high school/college friends and it’s a great way to keep in touch. If you are in a league with friends that live in your area, your draft is the perfect excuse for a friend draft party/shindig. Chips and guac, anyone?
6. Something to do with your coworkers – Forbes says it’s a good idea to play fantasy football with your co-workers. Personally, I find fantasy football to be a great way to passive aggressively stick it to someone at the office. You shouldn’t call a co-worker a jerk to his or her face (if you intend to keep your job), but you can steal players they want to draft and silently (or not-so-silently) judge their losing record.
7. You get to come up with fun team names – You don’t haaaaave to choose a witty team name. Just like you don’t haaaaaave to put whipped cream and sprinkles on your ice cream sundae. “[Insert name]’s Team” will get the job done (just like a bowl of plain vanilla ice cream), but where’s the fun in that?
Some of my favorites for this year include: Turn Down for Watt (J.J. Watt), Gotta Catch Jamaal (Jamaal Charles) and De More De Maryius (Demaryius Thomas).
Full disclosure: I Googled these, because I’m just not that good.
Turn Down for Watt, anyone?
Photo Source: USA Today Sports Images
8. It gives you players to root for when/if your favorite team is struggling – Does your hometown team suck? Is it clear that they are not going to make the playoffs? Have you lost all hope and can’t bring yourself to watch their games anymore? No worries – If you have a fantasy team, there are plenty of players on the other 31 teams that you can cheer for during the remainder of the season. Yay!
Don’t be like this guy, who clearly doesn’t have a fantasy team to cheer him up…
Photo Source: My PR Genie
9. You can watch Sh*t Fantasy Fans Say videos and they will make sense to you – If you don’t play fantasy football, videos like the one below will go over your head. After you complete you first fantasy season, do yourself a favor and come back and watch this video. I guarantee you will have said at least one of these things during your time as a fantasy football owner. (“I’m seriously considering quitting my job because I’m in 9 leagues.” I’ve never said that before….out loud.)
10. If my Mom can play fantasy football, you can too – My mother is an intelligent, lovely woman who didn’t know very much about football until a few years ago. We talked her into joining a league and now she can smack talk with the best of them. She drafts based on “baby momma drama” and her method seems to work. Her default team name is “Wilfork You Up.” No joke.
We’ll have a post in the next week or so discussing your fantasy football options – which sites you can use, different types of leagues, all that good stuff.